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Chablis 1e Cru ‘Butteaux - Chardonnay

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Code FR-099
ProducerPattes Loup / Pico
Type of winetype of wineWit
RegionBourgogne - Chablis
Grape varietyChardonnay
AgeingEikenhout foudré 500L+

The 2015 Chablis 1er Cru Beauregard is stunning and is a textbook example of a cool, slow-maturing site excelling in a warmer vintage. The wine unfurls in the glass with aromas of green apple, citrus blossom and oystershell, followed by a full-bodied, tangy palate with an incredible marriage of texture and acidity. The finish is long, stony and beautifully delineated.

The energetic Thomas Pico was born and raised in Courgis, the village where he lives and works, leaving only to study viticulture and oenology in Beaune. He returned in 2004, establishing Domaine Pattes Loup a year later with eight hectares of vines inherited from his family and soon won a richly deserved reputation as one of the brightest rising stars in Chablis’s firmament. Pattes Loup is something of an outlier in Courgis. Aside from the Pico family, the only other vignerons in the village to bottle their wines themselves are Thomas’s mentors Alice and Olivier de Moor: the others sell in bulk to négociants. And Thomas also stands out within Chablis more generally, thanks to his decision—following in the footsteps of the de Moors—to farm his vineyards organically and harvest by hand. Biodynamic certification, a challenge few dare to attempt in Chablis, came in 2009. His parcels stand out for their fluffy, tilled soil in a region where vineyards often resemble a sterile moonscape. Pico’s priority is to achieve moderate yields and full maturity. He picks rather later than most of his neighbors, judging the moment to harvest by flavor and appearance rather than laboratory analyses. Fermentation occurs in neutral wood, concrete and stainless steel, varying—like its duration—by cuvée and vintage. Confronted by the tiny crops of 2016 and 2017, Pico elected to retain some of his 2015s for a later bottling, keeping them on the lees in tank for longer, an experiment he had long wanted to make, and one that will help his cash flow. The "Mise Tardive" bottling of his Vente d'Ange cuvée has recently been bottled, and his 1er Cru Butteaux will follow in June. There isn't really anything like them in Chablis—imagine if the Mâconnais's Domaine Valette made wines here and you'll get a partial idea of what they're like—but they're undeniably delicious, indeed thrilling, in their alliance of texture and saline nuance. By contrast, his 2014s, which I have revisited from my own cellar, are cut from much more obviously classical cloth, with a profile that will appeal to followers of Domaine Raveneau. William Kelley 94/100

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